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Elderly woman’s family accuses Islington Council of neglect after 29 unresolved complaints in 5 years

PUBLISHED: 15:12 14 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:26 14 July 2017

Panayiota Christou with the Travis Perkins sack used to cover over the enormous hole in her shower wall. Picture: Christopher Nicholas-Cavendish

Panayiota Christou with the Travis Perkins sack used to cover over the enormous hole in her shower wall. Picture: Christopher Nicholas-Cavendish

Archant

The family of an elderly disabled tenant has accused Labour-run Islington Council of being “just like the Tories” in its neglect of her sopping wet council flat.

Panayiota Christou in the kitchen of her damp-ridden Earlstoke Estate flat. Picture: Polly Hancock Panayiota Christou in the kitchen of her damp-ridden Earlstoke Estate flat. Picture: Polly Hancock

Relatives of Panayiota Christou, of the Earlstoke Estate off Goswell Road, have accused the town hall of neglecting her since 2003, when the issues were first reported. Islington today held its hands up and said it would begin refurbishments straightaway.

On file, the family has logged 29 complaints since 2012. The Moorgreen House property has suffered damp, flooding and electrical failures in that time.

Part of the problem, they claim, is shoddy repair work overseen by the council. While investigating a leak, one man left a void in Ms Christou’s shower wall that was open for six weeks. It was then covered up with a Travis Perkins rubble sack – with no progress on finding the leak.

Ms Christou, who has lived in the flat for 20 years and been an Islington tenant since 1974, has arthiritis, spinal issues, diabetes and kidney disease.

From the mould-infested flat this week, the 71-year-old said: “I constantly live in stress.”

And son Christopher Nicholas-Cavendish, who said he approached the Gazette as a “last resort”, added: “Life is already difficult for my mum, but this council is making it even more difficult.

“I am a member of the Labour Party, and this Labour council is always bleating on about callous Tories. But I don’t think there’s any difference between the way a Tory council would treat someone like my mum and this Islington Labour council.

“They are unsympathetic. They preach to us but they are exactly the same as the Tories. It’s like dealing with robots.”

Damp and mould in the downstairs bathroom of Panayiota Christou's flat in the Earlstoke Estate. Picture: Polly Hancock Damp and mould in the downstairs bathroom of Panayiota Christou's flat in the Earlstoke Estate. Picture: Polly Hancock

He also accused a council officer of being “utterly indifferent” when making yet another complaint this week. In an email seen by the Gazette, she apologised, saying she was “mortified”.

In a statement, Islington housing leader Cllr Diarmaid Ward said: “We are very sorry for the issues in Mrs Christou’s home, and we will do everything we can to make it right.

“We want to ensure that everyone in Islington has a decent place to live, and we take issues of damp, leaks, and condensation in our homes extremely seriously.

“Our housing repairs team has visited Mrs Christou’s home to repair the leak affecting her flat, and we are now laying a new floor to replace the one damaged by the leak. We will also carry out painting work, and have previously carried out work to remove damp and mould. In September we will start major work to replace her kitchen, bathroom and toilet.”

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